Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow, Brian Damage and John Carbery
It’s Sunday Sermon and with it being blindingly obvious that the WWE has strapped a rocket to the back of Finn Balor, it becomes quite obvious fodder for a Sermon discussion. Have the WWE got it right with Balor? Does he deserve to be pushed to the top or, as Vince Russo suggested, is the company merely pandering to the IWC? All that and more is discussed today.
Craig: The calling up of Finn Balor so early into the draft made it abundantly clear that the WWE had big plans for him. The following two weeks of Raw further demonstrated this.
Week 1 saw Balor not only debut but go on to defeat Roman Reigns in the main event; after overcoming Rusev, Cesaro and Kevin Owens; to become the number one contender. Not a bad debut… That was followed up with a, wisely, short segment on this week’s show where he went face-to-face with Seth Rollins, the man he’ll face at SummerSlam for the naffly named Universal Title.
Of course, it’s not been everyone’s cup of tea. Step forward Vince Russo… In a column for Fightful, he said: “When Finn Balor was booked to defeat the likes of Rusev and Roman Reigns in the same night — on his first night — this was the nail in the coffin for me. I never believed that I would ever see a powerhouse like the WWE cater to the smallest audience, with the loudest voice — the IWC.”
So, is Russo right? Or is it the WWE that is right in their attempts to make a star out of Finn Balor?
Jamie: Let’s generalise for a second. The IWC is essentially WWE’s most loyal, hardcore of fans – obviously you do get wrestling fans who will actively not watch WWE, but let’s ignore them because they are unlikely to make much noise at WWE shows due to not being there. By pushing Finn Balor are WWE only speaking to the IWC? Do younger or more casual fans only react to bigger guys? If ‘no’ then Finn Balor stands as good a chance as anybody. If ‘yes’, then who conditioned wrestling audiences to expect giant men with giant muscles? That would be Vince and the WWE, who are also masterminding the current push of Finn Balor. Thus, I do not see Vince Russo’s point and cannot help but feel that WWE are onto a good thing with Finn Balor. If Vince McMahon truly wants Balor to be a star, then he probably will be. He is starting his main roster career with the huge advantage of having a section of the audience cheer for him, so why wouldn’t WWE capitalise on that momentum and try to get more people behind the guy?
Brian: Let me ask this question…was Roman Reigns putting additional asses in seats? Were the rating soaring when Reigns was champion? The answer to that is no. With Finn Balor, he already has a built in audience and like Jamie said, can easily build upon that if done right.
I like and respect Vince Russo, he came from nothing and became a head writer for WWF, WCW and TNA….but he sounds sorely out of touch with that statement. The wrestling world has evolved and fans are not as intrigued to sit there and watch two 7 footers throw punches and kicks. We live in a world where attention spans are much shorter and need immediate stimulation.
John: Of course he is! Finn is the next Austin! Though I’m willing to admit that being an Irishman I may be biased somewhat.
In all seriousness, Finn has a chance to settle in to the same kind of spot that Jeff Hardy once occupied. He’s not a great talker but women love him because he’s hot and guys can get behind him because he can wrestle plus he’s got a great paint gimmick and a killer entrance. He could easily keep up with the main event as a face, maybe not THE face of the company. Anyone who saw him do his thing in NJPW though can tell you he’s also a killer heel and that’s probably where his true main event potential lies in the long run.
The guy is a great worker, looks like a million dollars and has a gimmick that’s over and gives his main events a big match feel. If WWE can’t make money with him, there’s something seriously wrong with them.
Brian: Finn Balor won’t be over as big as Austin or Hulk Hogan because he mic skills aren’t up to par with them…but as John already said, he has such a presence about him in ring that can go very far. In my view, he will be wrestling the Undertaker at the next Wrestlemania.
Craig: It’s difficult to disagree with much that has been said. Certainly with what John said regarding Finn as a heel. Although I can’t claim to be an expert on Japanese wrestling or on his run over there, what I did see was very impressive. Based on that, I would certainly be interested in seeing him portray a heel in the WWE.
There’s probably something in Brian’s Undertaker remark as well. I would certainly be a good way to keep the momentum going, that is if the company haven’t dropped the ball with him by then – something we can’t discount huh?
Undoubtedly his mic skills aren’t on par with the likes of Stone Cold, The Rock or Hogan. But he doesn’t have to be. There’s very obvious charisma there but more in a smouldering way. I think he can get a long, long way based on his current mic skills. Plus, there’s every chance he can improve and take that to the next level.
Do you think that Finn Balor has all the attributes to make it as a star in the WWE? Or is there something lacking. As usual, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.